In the final three sections of Chapter 17 and in the first section of Chapter 19, the Course discusses perhaps the most immediate problem in the holy relationship: our lack of faith that the relationship will actually reach its exalted goal. How can it, we wonder, given how unenlightened we ourselves are, and especially how utterly lost our partner is? If that question haunts us, we need the quotations below.
Have faith in the goal’s accomplishment
This is the time for faith. You let this goal be set for you. That was an act of faith. Do not abandon faith, now that the rewards of faith are being introduced. If you believed the Holy Spirit was there to accept the relationship, why would you now not still believe that He is there to purify what He has taken under His guidance? Have faith in your brother in what but seems to be a trying time (T-17.V.6).
Joining was a gift of faith to your brother; do not try to take it back
Be tempted not to snatch away the gift of faith you offered to your brother. You will succeed only in frightening yourself. The gift is given forever, for God Himself received it. You cannot take it back. You have accepted God. The holiness of your relationship is established in Heaven(T-18.III.4:5-10).
The goal will guarantee its own fulfillment. It is the cause for faith
The goal’s reality will call forth and accomplish every miracle needed for its fulfillment. Nothing too small or too enormous, too weak or too compelling, but will be gently turned to its use and purpose. The universe will serve it gladly, as it serves the universe. But do not interfere (T-17.VII.6:6-9).
The goal will call forth your faith
Your faith must grow to meet the goal that has been set. The goal’s reality will call this forth, for you will see that peace and faith will not come separately (T-17.VII.4:4-5).
The goal guarantees that everyone involved will play his part
Where the goal of truth is set, there faith must be….The goal establishes the fact that everyone involved in it will play his part in its accomplishment. This is inevitable. No one will fail in anything. This seems to ask for faith beyond you, and beyond what you can give. Yet this is so only from the viewpoint of the ego… (T-17.VI.6).
If you lack faith in anyone to fulfill, and perfectly, his part in any situation dedicated in advance to truth, your dedication is divided. And so you have been faithless to your brother, and used your faithlessness against him (T-17.VII.6:2-3).
This faith encompasses everyone involved, for only thus the situation is perceived as meaningful and as a whole. And everyone must be involved in it, or else your faith is limited and your dedication incomplete (T-19.I.1:4-5).
See every situation as a means to meet your relationship’s goal
Every situation in which you find yourself is but a means to meet the purpose set for your relationship. See it as something else and you are faithless (T-17.VII.5:1-2).
There is no situation that does not involve your whole relationship, in every aspect and complete in every part (T-17.VII.8:11).
Enter each situation with the faith you give your brother, or you are faithless to your own relationship (T-17.VII.9:1).
Have faith in the relationship; do not substitute another one for it
Now the ego counsels thus; substitute for this another relationship to which your former goal was quite appropriate. You can escape from your distress only by getting rid of your brother. You need not part entirely if you choose not to do so. But you must exclude major areas of fantasy from your brother, to save your sanity. Hear not this now! Have faith in Him Who answered you. He heard. Has He not been very explicit in His answer? You are not now wholly insane. Can you deny that He has given you a most explicit statement? Now He asks for faith a little longer, even in bewilderment. For this will go, and you will see the justification for your faith emerge, to bring you shining conviction. Abandon Him not now, nor your brother. This relationship has been reborn as holy (T-17.V.7).
Faith that all problems in the situation can be resolved
Faithlessness, which takes problems off to solve them elsewhere
…the ego believes in “solving” conflict through fragmentation, and does not perceive the situation as a whole. Therefore, it seeks to split off segments of the situation and deal with them separately, for it has faith in separation and not in wholeness.
Confronted with any aspect of the situation that seems to be difficult, the ego will attempt to take this aspect elsewhere, and resolve it there….And peace will not be experienced except in fantasy. Truth has not come because faith has been denied, being withheld from where it rightfully belonged….
The substitutes for aspects of the situation are the witnesses to your lack of faith. They demonstrate that you did not believe the situation and the problem were in the same place. The problem was the lack of faith, and it is this you demonstrate when you remove it from its source and place it elsewhere. As a result, you do not see the problem. Had you not lacked faith that it could be solved, the problem would be gone….
There is no problem in any situation that faith will not solve… ( T-17.VI.6,7, VII.1,2).
Faithlessness is inevitable; just bring it to truth
You will make this error [lack of faith], but be not at all concerned with that. The error does not matter. Faithlessness brought to faith will never interfere with truth. But faithlessness used against truth will always destroy faith. If you lack faith, ask that it be restored where it was lost, and seek not to have it made up to you elsewhere, as if you had been unjustly deprived of it (T-17.VII.3:9-11).
Do not use your faithlessness; look on it calmly and realize it is an illusion
Use not your faithlessness. Let it enter and look upon it calmly, but do not use it. Faithlessness is the servant of illusion, and wholly faithful to its master. Use it, and it will carry you straight to illusions. Be tempted not by what it offers you. It interferes, not with the goal, but with the value of the goal to you. Accept not the illusion of peace it offers, but look upon its offering and recognize it is illusion (T-17.VII.5:3-9).
The real cause of your lack of faith in the relationship
Yet think on this, and learn the cause of faithlessness: You think you hold against your brother what he has done to you. But what you really blame him for is what you did to him. It is not his past but yours you hold against him. And you lack faith in him because of what you were. Yet you are as innocent of what you were as he is (T-17.VII.8:1-5).
[Please note: ACIM passages quoted in this article reference the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) Edition.]